New Poll: Vast Majority Of Americans Support ‘Red Flag’ Laws, Banning Assault Weapon Sales and High-Capacity Magazines

Most Americans support major gun control legislation—including requiring background checks, “red flag” laws, banning high-capacity magazines and the sale of assault weapons—according to a new ABC News/WaPo poll.

Nearly 90 percent of participants in the poll (89 percent) said they supported background checks for all firearm purchases as 60 percent were concerned a shooting incident could affect their local community, ABC News reports.

Eighty-six percent of those polled said they favored “red flag” laws which would allow local law enforcement officers to seize an individual’s firearms without the person committing a crime. The laws would require a judge to take cautionary testimony from the individual’s friends or family members to determine if the individual posed a threat.

ABC News reports:

By a 15-point margin, 56 to 41 percent, the public supports banning the sale of assault weapons. That’s off its recent peak, 62 percent, after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last year, but well up from its low, 45 percent in late 2015.

Beyond banning assault weapons sales, 52 percent support a mandatory buyback program in which the government would require owners to turn in their assault weapons in exchange for payment. And six in 10 in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, support banning high-capacity ammunition clips.


Gun policy may be debated again as Congress returns to session this week, following mass shootings across the country that killed at least 35 in August. Americans trust the Democrats in Congress over Donald Trump to handle gun laws by 51-36 percent.

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Fifty-eight percent express confidence that stricter gun laws would in fact reduce mass shootings; 41 percent are skeptical. As noted, there are also especially broad hopes for improved mental health monitoring and treatment, as 76 percent think those kind of programs would reduce mass shootings.

The ABC News/WaPo poll was conducted via phone call to landline and cellular phones, from September 2 to September 5, 2019, in English and Spanish. The poll included “a random national sample of 1,003 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 28-24-37 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.”

According to the report, the survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York City with help from Abt Associates of Rockville, Maryland.


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